Coco Choco Clusters

Coco Choco Clusters Recipe


I was having second thoughts about running this recipe. My plan was to combine toasted coconut, almonds, ground coffee, and good chocolate into little bite-sized clusters. Simply stir all the ingredients together in a big bowl and then spoon the mixture out onto a baking sheet into little mounds. Sort of like a home-made Almond Joys for the cook who cant be bothered to make a real coconut filling, and who certainly doesn't want to do the dunking required to make a chocolate coating. I also thought it might be a fun kids recipe (you could skip the espresso beans). But in the end, they aren't really my thing...

Coco Choco Clusters

I should add, its not that I didn't like the taste or flavor of these. I simply think they are ugly. And they are fussy. But everyone around here seems to love them, Wayne used the word decadent, so I decided to share them with you regardless. A word of warning, while I don't normally encourage refrigerating chocolate - I promise you, if you leave these out in a summertime kitchen (yes, even in San Francisco) they will crumble in your hands. So, keep 'em cool.

 
 
 
 

Coco Choco Cluster Recipe

The specifics: I used Marcona almonds (already fried, so I did not toast them) and a 70% Dolfin Chocolate, this amber colored Halen Mon Gold smoked finishing salt, and Blue Bottle Coffee Yemen San'ani - not available on their site right now. To melt the chocolate use a double boiler or if you are like me, and don't own a double-boiler cobble one together using a tiny saucepan set under a larger mixing bowl. Fill the saucepan with an inch or two of water and bring to a simmer - place the big mixing bowl with the chocolate on top of the saucepan and let the heat come up and gently warm the chocolate. Stir occasionally until chocolate is completely melted and remove from heat. Also, make sure all ingredients save the chocolate are at room temp before combining or the chocolate will never set up - for example if the coconut is still hot from toasting.

2 1/2 cups finely shredded unsweetened coconut, lightly toasted and cooled
1/2 cup toasted almonds, cooled and chopped
7-8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon finely ground espresso beans (optional)
a big grain finishing salt - if you can get your hands on a smoked one, great

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Combine the coconut and almonds in a large bowl. Place the chocolate in a double boiler (or a bowl placed over a bit of simmering water) to melt along with the ground espresso. Pour the chocolate over the coconut mixture and stir to combine. Let cool a few minutes and then drop by the tablespoonful onto baking sheet. Finish with a few grains of salt on top of each. The mixture will be a bit crumbly, but will set as the chocolate cools. If your kitchen is on the cool side the clusters will set up over the course of an hour or so. If you want to speed up the process a bit, pop them in the refrigerator.

Makes 36 clusters.

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Your Comments


Uncle Hannah
August 10, 2008

Looks darn tasty. Yeah, I guess they don't present TOO well but who cares! Hehee.

It reminds me of something my sister made me after I had my baby a couple years ago. She cooked portions of healthful, tasty meals for me while I was recuperating from new motherhood.
One of those dishes was a cocoa-powder, almond-butter mixture (forgot what the sweetener was...if anything) which was wrapped around a cherry. I haven't had anything quite like it since, but I'd love to try your espresso/coconut version. The fancy chocolates and salts sound exciting. Maybe I'll make it when my three sisters move into their house together this coming week.

Thanks for the recipe. :)

 

cate
August 10, 2008

I don't mind ugly cookies as long as they taste good...and these look like they taste amazing! I'm definitely going to use smoked salt on them - I've been looking for more uses for it!

 

Lizzie
August 10, 2008

eh...beauty isn't everything! these sound really tasty. i'm not a huge coconut fan, but for some reason it sounds really excellent with all those other ingredients. this recipe also seems like a good to-go treat--i'll have to try it out!

 

Phoenix
August 10, 2008

they look like the no-bake cookies my mom always made whe i was a kid. melted chocolate, coconut and raisins.

but they sound like they taste much better :p def want to give these a try.

 

Mireille
August 10, 2008

My mom would probably love these, since she just loves coconut. I quite like the look, especially since they have chocolate...as the saying goes, don't judge a book by its' cover.

 

Shamal
August 11, 2008

Yah... its good to have so many recepies. Good show.I do not mind having some of your yammmmm...one's to see how it is, I trust it will be very tasty.

Thank you.

Shamal.

 

Deborah Dowd
August 11, 2008

They sound really delicious and something simple like this is great when you have a craving but not much time!

 

C
August 11, 2008

I think they sound delicious. When I read the opening words, I was expecting to see something unappealing but I think they look good...cute even.

 

Kimberly
August 11, 2008

I don't think they're ugly at all! So they're not all smooth & perfect, that's what makes them look like they could be really really tasty, and I'm sure they are! Can't wait to try 'em.... what a great combo!

 

Becky and the Beanstock
August 11, 2008

They look tasty to me! It's a great summertime recipe too -- you get the pleasure of a cookie/sweet treat without the pain of using an oven in August. And espresso beans -- yum! I'll definitely be giving them a whirl. I think I'll try one batch with the smoked salt, and another with chili powder or maybe espelette.

 

Claire
August 11, 2008

yeah...these are pretty much a chocoholics dream come true...

 

Beth
August 11, 2008

We love anything even resembling chocolate at our house, so I'll try them. Sometimes it's fun to make something when you just have dabs of these ingredients--I do have 1/2 bag of coconut left from something else right now, so I'll be throwing this together this week.

 

justin burks
August 11, 2008

sometimes taste trumps appearance. although we eat with our eyes and our brains; we still taste with our tongues and smell with our noses. I could see myself eating a few of those. save me a few.

also, silpats are the bizness. i use mine nearly everyday.

www.thechubbyvegetarian.com

 

Rebecca
August 11, 2008

Well, *I* think they look beautiful! I can picture these on a plate full of strawberries - the bright dark red of strawberries would compliment the dark brown of the cookies :)

My kids would love to make this - we made no-bake chocolate cookies last week and the boys loved them. I think we'll try this one next time. Thanks for posting it!

 

Sarah
August 11, 2008

I was thinking it wouldn't take much to pretty these little yummies up. Simply put a little melted chocolate aside and mix in a tiny bit of butter, pick some up with a teaspoon and drizzle the candies with a thin ribbon of chocolate... to go even fancier, try drizzling with white chocolate!

 

Kim
August 11, 2008

Glad you shared them, as a coconut and chocolate fan they sound great. Some of the tastiest dishes aren't beautiful and I have had some exquisite food that was so so on flavor. I need to use my silpat more.

 

VeggieGirl
August 11, 2008

Yum. Period.

 

Jamie
August 11, 2008

They sound a lot better than they look! Maybe leaving the almonds and coffee beans less ground up for some bite and texture (they look like wet tobacco!) then serve with some kind of cream or white chocolate topping to add a white/soft contrast?

 

Betsy
August 11, 2008

I'm a chocholic but not fond of coconut. Any suggestions for a substitute to hold these together and still have a no-bake recipe?

 

Izzy
August 11, 2008

I think they look delicious! I will definetly try them. Plus, my little sister would love to help me make them since they're a little messy!

 

Tionna
August 11, 2008

Dat looks good i want 2 tri den cause their choclate and i luv choclate

 

Mary
August 11, 2008

Prettiness doesn't always matter when it comes to chocolate.

My aunt's famous (in our family) candy clusters incorporated chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, Chinese noodles and peanuts. They're named Plops (all I'll say is that the name is related to horses) but they are so good!

 

Wayne
August 11, 2008

One tip is don't skip the fancy salt at the end, it might not be something your kids like, but makes these a bit more interesting. I ate many more than I should have :)

 

Erin
August 11, 2008

Halen Mon is a Welsh salt isn't it?

They may not be as beautiful as your recipes usually are, but they sound wonderful.

 

Charo
August 11, 2008

Hmm. If you're worried about the presentation, maybe you drop them into round shaped silicon ice molds or something like it? :)

 

Emily
August 11, 2008

I never post comments but I just wanted to say that I don't know why there are complaints about the looks of these little bites. They remind me very much of "haystack" cookies, except the insides sound much more tantalizing. My mouth is already curious to try out the texture on my tongue.

And while I'm at it, also wanted to mention a word of THANKS to Heidi for so liberally sharing her terrific recipes with us! She makes opening e-mail fun! Keep 'em coming!

 

Barbara
August 11, 2008

Oh, dear. I wish someone had tried the recipe and commented on the flavors, etc. rather than focusing on the looks and how to( or not) improve the appearance. Much like the rest of society; we forget that what is inside is what really counts. Have a great day, and if anyone really tries this recipe, let us know how it tastes. Thanks.

 

Rhonda
August 11, 2008

Heidi,

I've been lurking for a while, but this is my first comment!

Barbara,
I just finished making these, and followed the recipe w/ two changes: I only had sweetened coconut, so I used a higher cocoa percentage chocolate.

They were delicious!!! The finishing salt added the necessary cut to the sweetness, and the coffee gave it a richness and sophistication that is lacking in other similar chocolate/coconut concoctions. Even my daughter, who has autism and hates mixed textures and will ferret out the nuts in anything, downed these!

Great one, we'll be making these again at the holidays - maybe w/ a candied cherry on top!

 

Tal Stadler
August 11, 2008

Is it only me, or these tiny bits look good?
I really don't find them ugly, and as the matter of fact, I find "rough" and un touched looking sweets and other baked goods, MORE delicious. Seriously, I like to see chunks and bumps..it looks more tasty this way. And so do these little guys. :)
Thanks!

 

bill and hill
August 11, 2008

These look gross and disgusting, but taste just fine-- (a little funny but thinking that was the coconut she used). We're not happy about the coffee keeping us up all night in a sweat. We barely knew what to do with ourselves. C'est la vie.

 

Christine
August 11, 2008

Many dark chocolates are vegan; you might want to tag this as a vegan recipe!

 

I think these choc cookies need to look a bit better.

They do look ugly but a better presentation is called for to improve their apprearance..

 

aksmommy
August 11, 2008

LOL, gotta love your honesty :)

 

Mathi
August 11, 2008

The recipe resembles one my grandmother made with me when I was little (sans coffee). The main difference is that the mixture was placed in a pan to chill then sliced into bars. Using that process (and maybe the white chocolate drizzle recommended by Sarah) could make something a bit prettier for those who dislike the looks.

 

Cheri
August 11, 2008

They look yummy! Way to go, Heidi! I'm making these for a dinner party we're having for a couple of admirals tomorrow evening. They will be the perfecting ending to our meal. Simple, yet elegant. I'll let you know how they turn out.

 

TwoBarkingDogs
August 11, 2008

Don't worry - I'm not rabid - its just drool a la Homer "hmmmmmmmmm choc-o-late"

thanks for the recipe.

 

Lynette
August 11, 2008

I used to make something like this for my son when he was little,but sans coffee and used rolled oats instead of coconut. I think these are the "grown up" version and thought they would make a wonderful gift for someone I owe a thank-you. Is this an example of holiday over-indulgence Heidi?

 

Amy
August 11, 2008

I wonder if just the tiniest bit of powdered red pepper (the McCormick's kind, not the kind on the table at Pizza Hut) would make these a little zingier. Hmmm...

There has to be something you could do to pretty them up a bit, even if it's just to roll them into spheres instead of dropping them. Might have to add a little more coconut if you do that, though. What if you used what you have above for the middles, and then rolled them in toasted coconut, so they'd be two-toned? I think I'll have to mess around with these at Christmas. Great recipe, thanks! I love all the ingredients, so these would definitely be a winner at my house!

Amy @ http://prettybabies.blogspot.com

 

Valerie
August 11, 2008

Oh yum...these sound incredible! Maybe I've been in suburbia too long, but my first thought was "wouldn't these be good plopped on top of tiny pretzels..."

 

Nick
August 11, 2008

If I were to reach for a candy bar an Almond Joy were certainly be the one. These sound great but perhaps they're a bit too dry for your tastes? Seems like they might be with all that coconut. Maybe mixing it with some organic corn syrup or peanut butter would make them more enjoyable.

 

YOYO's Cooking
August 11, 2008

gorgeous~

l like coco choco so much~

 

kristen
August 11, 2008

these actually sound delicious! and while you aren't lovin' them because of what they look like i'm sure they're tasty! there's an italian cookie called "brutti ma buoni" and they are the same way - definitely not an attractive cookie, but super yummy! i think i'll give these a try :-)

 

Mary (Mary's Nest)
August 12, 2008

These look wonderful. I have made something similar but I also add peanut butter and coconut oil - but the espresso beans...genius! I love that idea.

Thanks so much,

Mary

 

Cheryl
August 12, 2008

Heidi, I made something pretty similar in June. Unfortunately, when the chocolate hardened, it got dappled with these little bloomy whitish spots. I guess it's because I didn't temper the chocolate, but who can be bothered with that? Yours look like they escaped that dappled fate. Any idea why?

 

lin
August 12, 2008

mmm those little thingys look cute and tasty!

 

Sarah
August 12, 2008

How are these ugly? They look exactly like what they are. A big piece of bbqed meat doesn't look that pretty either but I sure like to eat it!

This recipe sounds really yummy! And I love the addition of crunchy salt. You make the ordinary extraordinary Heidi!

 

Patricia
August 12, 2008

I make a cookie that is similar in appearance and usually present them in a petit four paper liner (a printed, smaller version of a cupcake liner available in specialty baking stores). I usually drop them from a rounded tablespoon measure onto the parchment paper, so that they appear more uniform. In addition, I lightly dust them with icing sugar. That little bit of pampering improves their appearance quite a bit!

 

Pat
August 12, 2008

First, "ugly" is a harsh word, so move away from that type of negativity. Presentation is everything, so consider a shoot on a beautiful plate mixed with other items e.g. mint leaves. Suggest you ignore recommendations about corn syrup and peanut butter, unless you want ordinary. We have plenty of that stuff in a lot of other products. Stay unique and stay positive.

 

Heather Randall
August 12, 2008

These could also be tagged for a low carb recipe, oddly enough for a cookie :) They're only between 5 and 7 grams per cookie, depending on the kind of dark chocolate you use. I'm looking forward to making this - nice to see no artificial sweeteners in a low sugar recipe.

 

Heather Randall
August 12, 2008

Heidi - one question. Since you used Marcona almonds which are generally already fried, did you re-toast them before making?

HS: Hi Heather, no I used them fried, and didn't toast after that - will note in the recipe.

 

Expat Chef
August 12, 2008

Fussy, true. But so are truffles. Glad you posted it regardless. Now, going to go read the Panzanella recipe you posted. I just made a summer version with avocado and some smoked jowl from our CSA ...

 

Leslie
August 12, 2008

Coconut..chocolate..coffee????Oh my, thats what I'm talking about!

 

Adam
August 12, 2008

You weekly post what looks to be vomit on a plate, "flecked" with that and "kissed" with this. But regular old chocolate balls found in any church lady cookbook are ugly?

 

D.L.WILLIAMSON
August 12, 2008

THANKS FOR THE COOKING MAGIC YOU HAVE DONE FOR THE MILLIONS OF FRIENDS........................IT IS SO.............GOOD.
WILLIE.......

 

Lynn
August 13, 2008

I have just found your site and am delighted with your recipes. Your Coco Choco sounds great - I will be adding a little chili to give it a good after taste.

Lynn (South Africa)

 

christine
August 13, 2008

ugly can be a good thing!

 

emiglia
August 13, 2008

I recently stumbled upon your blog and have since been spending my evenings drooling my way through your archives. I must have bookmarked about eighty recipes to try... everything you make looks so delicious while still being healthy and light. I can't wait to try some of the recipes you've posted... I'll let you know how they turn out!

 

Mrs.Sound
August 13, 2008

Great recipe. Thanks for the share.
www.foodista.com

 

GastroGirls
August 13, 2008

This is great! looks stunning. Like a gem. I love your photography.

 

Amy
August 13, 2008

I made these last night and they were supper easy and yummy! I was a little nervous as I I was scooping them onto the parchment because they were pretty crumbly, but chilling them in the fridge seemed to fix that. The coffee added a rich flavor to the chocolate and like Wayne said~ don't forget the salt at the end!

 

Maria
August 13, 2008

My kids loved these! I made a small batch with the ground coffee beans - I loved them!

 

Amber
August 14, 2008

These remind me of a receipe I learned while living in Italy, a Calabrian recipe...combining lucious Italian Hazelnuts (ground finely in food processor) with some sugar, cocoa powder, and amaretto. Delicious and, I like to think, pretty light for a dessert. I go easy on the sugar and generous on the cocoa powder. You can also substitute espresso for the amaretto. I usually make half my batch amaretto, half espresso. The key is finding good hazelnuts in the U.S. , not so easy to find!!!